Staff Correspondent

Bt crops: `MNCs using varsities'

  • `Bt research being conducted on 22 crops across the country'
  • UAS, Dharwad, carrying out research in the field

    DHARWAD: Working president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) Chukki Nanjundaswamy has alleged that multinational companies (MNCs) are slowly trying to promote Bt crops in the country through agricultural universities.

    Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, she said that although the cultivation of Bt crops had caused loss to the tune of $18 billion in the U.S. since 2002, scientists and universities in the country were taking up research in the field without realising its implications.

    She said the cultivation of Bt cotton had already caused loss to farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, and there were similar reports from Dharwad and Haveri.

    Despite this, scientists and policy-makers were trying to mislead farmers.

    At present, Bt research was being conducted on 22 crops across the country by various government agencies promoted by MNCs, she alleged.

    The University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad, was conducting research in the field, she alleged. It had already carried out research on Bt cotton and had moved on to Bt brinjal. But no serious work had been done on the impact of genetically modified crops on the health of human beings, which was a serious matter considering that brinjal was widely consumed in north Karnataka and south Maharashtra, she said.

    Ms. Chukki Nanjundaswamy said the KRRS along with the Hasiru Sene, led by Devinder Sharma, would try to convince UAS scientists attending the biotechnology workshop at the university on Wednesday to carry out a debate on the implications of the Bt crop cultivation.